In a recent article by Lam et al. describing the experience of the Sydney Melanoma Unit, a novel term called 'multimodality approach' to the sentinel node (SN) was applied. However, the timing of the use of the tools available in the presented cases should be discussed. An algorithm of which time to use, which tool to detect the correct SN by preoperative ultrasound (US) in combination with an US-guided fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) will be proposed and demonstrated using five clinical examples. All examples prove the advantage of a combined strategy to track down the correct and involved SN. A sensitive US power mode, for the amplification of even the slightest changes in vascularization, is the most important tool in our diagnostic preoperative approach. First, reliable US criteria, as recently published must consequently be applied. Second, a FNAC should be performed early enough, even when only early signs are visible. Third, a swift overnight cytology before sentinel lymph node biopsy should be available. US is a method for the early detection of clinically nonevident metastases. Using the proposed algorithm when to perform which part of the multimodality approach, we demonstrated the enormous information out of additionally performed US. In the case of a suspicious US finding, we always perform a FNAC of the node. In the event of a negative finding, the SLND will take place as scheduled. In the case of a positive finding, the patient can directly undergo completion lymph node dissection.

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Melanoma Research: a journal for basic, translational and clinical research in melanoma
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Voit, C., van Akkooi, A., Schäfer-Hesterberg, G., Sterry, W., & Eggermont, A. (2011). Multimodality approach to the sentinel node: An algorithm for the use of presentinel lymph node biopsy ultrasound (after lymphoscintigraphy) in conjunction with presentinel lymph node biopsy fine needle aspiration cytology. Melanoma Research: a journal for basic, translational and clinical research in melanoma, 21(5), 450–456. doi:10.1097/CMR.0b013e3283485f27